Harsimran Kaur  ON  Jan 28, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, Poems from the Sikh Sacred Tradition – Guru Nanak By Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh-Non- Fiction

Rating: 5/5

The creator—omniscient and omnipresent!

Its creation; a carnivalesque of momentary pleasure, a gallimaufry of honour and inequities and a chiaroscuro of painful lesions and invigorating depths!

We look at the firmaments, the creator not to be seen. We then throng the temples and Gurudwaras, the bells do not awaken him and neither the verbatim chanting of ‘naam’. The pugnacious ‘self’ in consanguinity gives a clarion call, “Why are you hidden behind the veil of ambiguity, tear it apart for I wish to see you.” The ignorant, enfeebled by his wandering, beats his chest, curtains a hand over the forehead signalling that life has been a perfidy and comfort is not to be found. Then, dismissive as it may sound, a voice echoes from the heart, “I am inside you, why search Heaven and Earth.”

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, through his oeuvre of poetic privilege expounds on the ‘One—the creator’ that beholds the entire world in the embrace of his reprise and reflection. His Poetic confluence of assessing the human toxity and the need to converge with the ‘One’ is a Cappella, beautifully translated by Nikki-Guninder Kaur Singh in her latest book ‘Poems from Sikh Sacred Tradition—Guru Nanak.’

It is not a presumption but many times, the human mind furtively plays a tune to extrapolate the essence of the ‘Supreme One’ not knowing such aberrationdoesn’t please the merciful.

So, what’s favourable to its mind?

What shall we do to become the dust of the saint’s feet?

Guru Nanak expounds that our semblance of life and death is fatalistic. The frippery and foppish sway in the ensemble of Magnanimity is not in cognizance to the evanescence of life. The excrescence of duality and dystopic deuce of rapacity and rodomontade had eluded mankind to remember and reflect on the ‘Divine.’ Guru Nanak is affirmative and commands to attach the Divine’s will to your will and lead an imperturbable existence.

The author’s selection of Guru Nanak’s poetry addresses issues of casteism, fear and death. It brings into light that systemlogy of human mind is roguish; an attempt to deviate from reality and find sheltering carapace in the illusionary dampness of life, the result of which is depredations of one’s intellect to understand the ‘One’.

Enchanting and enlightening, the poetic revelations foster as a heavenly discourse between ‘Nanak’ and the ‘One’. The priggishness of human mind is halted, for the intemperate chant of ‘I-me’ acts like a poisonous serpent that devours the humble unison with the ‘divine.’ A sanguine call, Guru Nanak implores that the mighty are ignorant of the strength of the ‘sacred word’ which has the power to obliterate vicious paradigms of life. Submitting to ‘naam—the essence of One’ is a probable act of real strength and valour.

Woman, the empress, so seen from Guru Nanak’s eye, is the real curator of our prevalence; the enormity with which our vanity slides the slope and the humility with which we trace the steps again to slide is a human analogy structured in the womb.

Who are we to disparage her?

In a though provoking verse by Guru Nanak, she is extolled for her existence and the existence for many; a truth forgotten by the deplorable who poison the moral grit of her essence.

Presented through the ‘Morning Hymns’, ‘Evening Hymns’, ‘Discourse with the Siddhas’, ‘Ballad of Hope’, ‘Alphabet on the Wooden Board’ and other short poems, the poetry in the book is sensuous and reflective. An inspiring cornucopia of Guru Nanak’s thoughts and ideologies, the hymns are in praise of the ‘One. The contemplation of the ‘sacred word’ is the only illuminating path to escape the fear of death and enjoy the vagaries of life.


Denounce casteism – a chicanery of the human mind

Celebrate death as a carnival— it’s not a defeat but victory of human affiliations.

Let humanity be the core of belongingness – war, conflicts and evil mindedness are apostles of ego

The ‘One’ exist within us. Visiting places of worship and reciting hymns eluded by mind for it wanders elsewhere, does not envisage the real meaning of the ‘sacred word’.

Guru Nanak’s poetic assemblage of the ‘drama of life’ is wonderstruck and insightful.

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